A former Marine who was wounded in Afghanistan while rescuing 36 fellow soldiers from an ambush was awarded the Medal of Honor Thursday at the White House by President Obama.
Former Sgt. Dakota Meyer, 23, of Columbia, Ky., received the award for his actions in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on Sept. 8, 2009, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is the third living recipient and first Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Sgt. Meyer manned the gun turret of a Humvee and defied orders to go back into the firefight five times to rescue other soldiers pinned down during the six-hour battle. He was wounded in the arm by shrapnel.
The president praised his courage and humility. Mr. Obama joked that when he called former Sgt. Meyer at his construction job to inform him of the award, “he felt he couldn’t take the call right then, because he said ‘if I don’t work, I don’t get paid.’” The White House arranged to call back on his lunch break.
“I do appreciate you, Dakota, taking my call,” Mr. Obama said.
Among his military decorations include: a Purple Heart Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with “V” device for valor, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
The audience in the East Room included dozens of Marines and other service members, Sgt. Meyer’s family, and Joao Silva, a New York Times photographer who lost both legs when he stepped on land mine in Afghanistan while covering U.S. troops on patrol in October 2010.